Koch Brothers vs Kay Hagan: The Fight for North Carolina

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) is facing a changed political environment in North Carolina this year as she looks down the barrel of reelection — a barrel that’s apparently loaded with two particularly wealthy bullets: Namely, the Koch brothers. Back during her last run for election in 2008, North Carolina was tinged a pretty hearty blue. Following Mitt Romney’s presence there during the presidential race and the considerable efforts made there by Republicans, the state began to head more the way of the GOP by 2012 — according to The Washington Post. So, her campaign was already going to be a difficult one this year.

Now, the Koch’s brothers are running attack ads on Hagan’s agenda, criticizing her for her connection to President Obama, support of the Affordable Care Act, and support for a bipartisan bill reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The ad focuses on the publicity mess surrounding those who had their health carriers drop them late last year, and on investor losses from mortgage company reform.

Hagan has hit back with criticism of the Koch’s 60 plus organization that released the ad, in a press release, calling it a “shady … arm of the Koch network that doesn’t disclose its donors,” and claiming it to have a poor retirement agenda. “It’s laughable for a group that wants to privatize Social Security and turn Medicare into a voucher program to claim any credibility on retirement security,” said Sadie Weiner, Hagan’s campaign communications director.

“Another Koch Brothers group has joined the fray of fringe outsiders spending more in North Carolina than anywhere else to distort Kay’s record and boost Thom Tillis,” she said, referring to a competing Senatorial candidate, North Carolina’s House Speaker Thom Tillis. “We know the Koch brothers have picked North Carolina to focus its resources because they are working with Thom Tillis to buy the North Carolina senate seat and pass their special interest agenda,” reads Hagan’s “Fact Check.” Tillis is a conservative Republican candidate who Hagan criticizes for his support of the Ryan Medicare Plan as well as changes to taxes that she says would be hard on middle class families.

As of March, Public Policy Polling showed Hagan still in the fight, with a slight improvement from the month before, ahead of Tillis 45 to 43, Edward Kryn 43 to 41, and Heather Grant 43 to 42. Alex Bradshaw, Greg Brannon, and Mark Harris have her tied at 43, Jim Snyder has her beat at 43 to 42, while Ted Alexander beats her 45 to 43. February saw her behind all, with the exception of Kryn, so she’s seen some improvement since then.

Possible advantages on her side are the minimum wage increase, and her anti-birth control ban stance — something Public Policy Polling reports only 12 percent would want. On top of that, public opinions on Obamacare have improved somewhat, with only 54 percent calling it unsuccessful compared to 69 percent in November.

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